15 Jun

Trip Advisor―An Unofficial Guide to Effective Travel Marketing


Written by Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive

My husband and I recently took a road trip to my home state of Minnesota to visit family and friends, covering five states and logging just under 2,000 miles in seven days. Along the way I was struck by how effectively relatively simple marketing grabbed my attention as co-pilot, from interesting roadside signage and billboards to clever taglines and even basic stickers. 

Roadside Signage and Billboards: 

On our way to beautiful Duluth, we saw a billboard for Doc’s Sturgeon Lake, MN. Boasting award-winning Bloody Marys, we decided that a local joint would be the perfect place to stop for lunch. And it was – with the BEST chicken and wild rice soup I’ve ever had. 

Interestingly, Iowa’s roadside signage and billboards didn’t disappoint either, promoting things like Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan and the Largest Truck Stop in the World along Iowa 80.  

Finally, another billboard jumped out at me and not in a good way― Kamp Komfy Kampground. Egads! I mean, there is zero need to change the spelling on any of these words! And its repetitiveness is unnecessary. Just a little creativity could go a long way. So could an easy-to-find website, as I had no luck finding it myself.  

Side note: when I pitched this blog idea to my colleague, Erika Turan, she asked me if I knew that Maine, Vermont, Hawaii, and Alaska banned billboards – I did not! So, a bit of trivia to add to your collection. 


Pete Zarria on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Upon arriving in beautiful Duluth we were amused by an unofficial Great Lakes tagline found in just about every gift shop we entered: “Lake Superior |Unsalted Shark Free” ― proving that sometimes clever wins. I am now the proud owner of both a keychain and tank top with this phrase on it and my husband added another t-shirt to his collection as well.

Stickers, Then and Now: 

The 1980s called and they want their stickers back! Channeling sticker books from my childhood and also jumping on the current water bottle sticker trend, I also decided to start adorning my travel water bottle with stickers from our visits. So far, I have an “Uff Da” Minnesota sticker and a Duluth sticker featuring the always cool aerial lift bridge. Savannah and Pittsburgh stickers are on order to get caught up on road trips taken in our fun little car.   

The Lesson? 

In a cluttered digital age, simple and inexpensive roadside signs can help make travelers aware of food, lodging, local attractions and giant frying pans they’d otherwise pass right by. And travelers love souvenirs of their adventures: t-shirts, stickers and keychains help keep an attractions top-of-mind (and even offer the seller a little profit) long after the vacation ends.  

Sometimes, old school marketing is best.  

If you’ve passed any notable billboards/signage/etc. while traveling, we’d love to hear about it!